Ever hear the expression “hot as asphalt”? It is a well-known fact that black asphalt absorbs the sun’s rays; well what if there was a practical way to harvest that heat and transfer it into usable energy? Is it possible? Just imagine the possibilities with so many millions of miles of asphalt throughout this country!
Researchers in Massachusetts are developing a method to accomplish this. As they point out, all of those roads and parking lots are simply large solar collectors; and there must be some way to harness, store and transfer all of that heat into usable energy. Although they don’t yet have a workable plan of action, they propose installing a network of heat exchangers into the roads (this could be a major undertaking) and then using water pipes to transport the heat. Another researcher, Scott Brusaw of Solar Roadways, is also working on a solar collection system. He is a little further along with his system, having already developed a three-layered system of translucent glass road surface containing PV solar collectors.
Although only in the infant stages of development, this concept can potentially hold the answer to our nation’s energy crisis, not to mention how the world as a whole could benefit. Opponents would argue that the implementation of this would be far too expensive to even attempt. But if you consider how much we spend on developing other forms of energy, it really may not be that unreasonable. Definitely a concept to think about and watch carefully!